More than 270sq km of prime central Queensland coal country is open for bids from explorers.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announced tenders for four blocks in the Bowen Basin.
“Resource developments which create jobs and attract economic investment to our regional communities must start with exploration,” he said.
“This land release is a significant opportunity for explorers to gain access to land with the potential for thermal and metallurgical coal in a word-leading production region.”
Since 2013, coal exploration licences have only been available in Queensland via competitive tender. The only tender under this process saw five permits awarded in the northern Bowen Basin in 2014.
The latest land release was foreshadowed in Queensland’s first Annual Exploration Program, released last year.
Dr Lynham said the exploration program concept delivered long-term planning certainty for explorers and early advice to the local traditional owners, landholders and councils.
“Queensland is the world’s largest global exporter of metallurgical coal, shipping more than 162 million tonnes last year worth an estimated $17 billion, with continued high demand for our thermal coal.
The land on offer is surrounded by existing coal mines, from Middlemount in the north to Cook and Blackwater to the south, and is serviced by Aurizon’s electrified Goonyella and Blackwater coal rail networks.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the announcement was a compelling case for investment into the sector with some of the best quality coal in the world already being exported from the area.
“This is a significant land release with four blocks in the coal-rich Bowen Basin opened up for bids from explorers and it’s the first land release in four years.” Mr Macfarlane said.
“I congratulate the government on this proactive step to encourage more exploration which will not only benefit the coal sector but is good news for local communities and local businesses.
“It has been 15 months since the government appointed its first Resources Investment Commissioner focused on identifying and driving economic opportunities for the sector and local and overseas investors will be interested in these blocks.”
Preferred tenderers must meet environmental, native title and land access requirements before commencing on-ground exploration activity.
Tenders close on Thursday, 24 August 2017. For more information visit dnrm.qld.gov.au/resources-tenders